Damascus: Makers of Clogs

Date: c.1890-1906

Arabic: qabāqībī
The maker of Damascene clogs is the qabāqībī. These custom-made footwear were constructed from willow and walnut wood, with a leather strap (sayr) made by the belt maker (suyūrī) attached to it. There were many styles and heights of Damascene clogs. The outline of the client’s foot would be drawn onto blanks of wood and the qabāqībī would carve the clog.  These artisans sometimes employed the use of mother-of-pearls (ṣadaf) or decorative stones (faṣṣ) which were inlaid within the clogs. Some of these shoes were exported to Ottoman Empire cities and abroad. In Damascus, Circassian artisans were mainly engaged the activity of clog making during this time. Although clogs were also produced by in different towns, Damascus was notable for the quality and perfection of its products.

Citation: al-Qasimi, Muhammad Saʿid, Jamal al-Din al-Qasimi, and Khalil al-ʿAzm (al-Azem), Dictionnaire des métiers damascains, ed., Zafer al-Qasimi. (Le Monde d’Outre-Mer passé et présent, Deuxième série, Documents III, Paris and Le Haye: Mouton and Co., 1960), p. 270 (chapter 194).
Milwright, Marcus. “Wood and Woodworking in Late Ottoman Damascus: An Analysis of the Qāmūs al-Ṣināʿāt al-Shāmiyya”, Bulletin d’Etudes Orientales 61 (2012): p. 554.

Damascus: Makers of Clogs

Date: 1899

A report dating to 1899 records that makers of clogs were operating in the Syrian capital. See also: Shoe Maker; Tanner; Maker of Inlaid Furniture.

Citation: R. Oberhummer and H. Zimmerer quoted in Kalter, Johannes, “Urban Handicrafts”, in Kalter, Johannes, Margareta Pavaloi, and Maria Zerrnickel, eds. The Arts and Crafts of Syria: Collection Antoine Touma and Linden-Museum Stuttgart (London and New York: Thames and Hudson, 1992), p. 64.

Damascus: A maker of clogs, , c1900